Giro d'Italia: A brutal day on the Plan de Corones
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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Giro d'Italia: A brutal day on the Plan de Corones

by Steve Jones at 5:12 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia
 

Plan de CoronesIt took today’s Giro d’Italia stage sixteen winner Stefano Garzelli (Acqua e Sapone) 2 minutes and 33 seconds to ride up the final 600 meters of the Plan de Corones.  The brutal mountain served up a some wind on the way to the line keep the Italian’s average speed for the final effort at a painful 8.77 miles per hour (14.12kph).  He finished the 12.9 kilometer effort in 41 minutes and 28 seconds, which was 1 minute and 2 seconds slower than that of Franco Pellizotti’s (Liqugas-Doimo) time when the Giro d’Italia last visited the climb in 2008.

There weren’t any big surprises in the group of favorites today.  The course suited Cadel Evans and Ivan Basso better than Alexandre Vinokourov, and that was reflected in their finishing times.  Evans had a gutsy ride and pulled back 28 seconds on Basso, with Vinokourov finishing a further 27 seconds back.  Vicenzo Nibali was 9 seconds faster than Basso, but will have team orders focus his energies on defending his team captain’s position in the overall.

Carlos Sastre (Cervélo TestTeam) also lost time, finishing in 19th place, 2’31” down, and losing his place in the overall classification to the World champion.  The Spaniard had lost big time early in the race due to bad luck, but managed to bring himself back into contention after making the surprise 56 rider break during stage eleven.  He continued to bleed time to the others in the mountains over the weekend, so his time loss today wasn’t too surprising.

“The classification is what it is. The result isn't a good one and of course it isn't what I'd expected, but when you’ve reached your limit, you can’t lose your morale or start thinking negatively. We’re another day on in this year’s Giro, which isn’t turning out as I’d expected. But the problems that were hanging over me from the start are now sorted and can't complain,” Sastre said after the finish.
   
Vinokourov put in a good ride in today’s time trial and, like Evans, will be in a position where he’ll need to look after himself in the mountains later this week.  His team remains confident in the Kazakh’s chances for the final maglia rosa in Verona.

"It was more suited for lightweight riders. Vinokourov had a good time today and it would have been difficult to do better, because he is a larger rider, so he must work harder because of his weight,” Astana’s sports director Dmitriy Sedoun said afterwards.  “Regarding the classification, he didn’t lose much time compared with the main favorites, and he managed to take some time back on Carlos Sastre. I think the race is still wide open and he still has a chance [at overall victory]."

Tomorrow’s stage has only one categorized climb, the Passo delle Palade, which comes 66 kilometers from the stage finish in Pejo Terme.  The day suits a breakaway, and the Caisse d’Epargne team of David Arroyo will only look to keep the peloton rolling fast enough to secure pink for the next stage.  The finish is on a long, uphill drag with the final kilometer offering a kick up in pitch at 600 and then 275 meters to the line.  We should see a small group arrive to fight it out for the stage win.

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